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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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for the Soviets, now successfully attacked by the German armies, could
hardly expect to encounter sympathy from a world which recalled the
past two years; those two years during which they had permitted Hitler's
war-machine to smash and defeat the European countries one by one,
while they had in the meantime collected what booty they were able to
gather. But now the Kremlin was in urgent need, not only of sympathy
from Britain and the U.S.A., but of real material help and Stalin hastily
began to justify his previous action in signing a Pact with those c monsters
and cannibals 5 the Germans, as being merely a desire for peace. He
now gave strategical reasons as the cause of his invasion of Poland , . .
but unfortunately for him, current events belied this statement since at
that time the Russians had made a lightning withdrawal from Polish
territories, from those very same c strategical positions.'
Polish opinion was split over the question of an immediate agree-
ment with the Soviets, and when Sikorski made an offer on June 23rd, it
did not meet with general approval, for the moment was judged to be
inappropriate. It was considered that a proposal should emanate from
Moscow. For the time being Poland was in a position to wait, since
the war was now progressing away from her territories and Britain
was then doing her utmost to unite the Powers fighting against
Germany in one allied bloc. Poland as the victim of aggression
had every excuse to wait for some sign of Soviet repentance but, it was
however, a repentance which Russia had no intention of showing. Britain
could supply Russia with war material but it was only Poland who could
acquit her in the eyes of the world, and it was just this acquittal she
needed, when she was losing the first round of the battle.
The offer made by Sikorski was in accord with the British policy but
in the opinion of the Poles, he had let their country down, particularly
as it appeared that Moscow was in no hurry to make any acknowledg-
ment. Consequently among a great section of the Poles a feeling of
bitterness was aroused towards their Premier.
At this juncture it is necessary to say a word regarding Sikorski. He
was born near Lwow, in that part of Poland which had never belonged to
Russia. He fought against the Soviets in 1919-20, and had scored a
notable success as the Commander of an Army. He was essentially a
European and tackled every problem concerning Russia from the angle of
a Westerner, without any real understanding of that country or the
Bolsheviks, Sikorski assumed that by laying his cards on the table, it
would be possible to come to a sincere agreement with the Kremlin,, but>
in fact, the sole element which could influence the future attitude of the
Soviets, not only towards Poland, but also towards Great Britain, was the
outcome of events on their front line—victory or disaster. As far back as
1940, after the collapse of France, Sikorski had suggested to Churchill
that the British Government should put forward a proposal to Russia that